“Who’s more foolish, the fool…or the fool who follows him?”
While the Skywalker saga is wrapping up on the big screen with The Rise of Skywalker, Disney is getting more aggressive about expanding the small screen Star Wars universe on the Disney+ streaming service. But the latest addition to the Star Wars live action TV lineup is perhaps the most anticipated of all, as it involves the return of one of the most beloved figures in franchise history: Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
McGregor will reprise his role as the legendary Jedi and General in a Disney+ TV series, marking the first time he’s donned the robe and lightsaber since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. While the Star Wars prequels remain a divisive issue among fans, nobody ever questioned the casting of McGregor as Obi-Wan, who brought the same calm intensity to the role as its originator, Sir Alec Guinness (not to mention a dead-on approximation of Guinness’ delivery).
Debora Chow, who directed three episodes of the upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian, is set to direct the Obi-Wan spinoff. Chow has also directed episodes of Better Call Saul, Lost in Space, and Jessica Jones. THR first broke the news.
In a statement, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said, “We really wanted to select a director who is able to explore both the quiet determination and rich mystique of Obi-Wan in a way that folds seamlessly into the Star Wars saga. Based on her phenomenal work developing our characters in The Mandalorian, I’m absolutely confident Deborah is the right director to tell this story.”
The Obi-Wan series will be written by Hossein Amini (The Alienist). Chow, Amini, and McGregor will serve as Executive Producers alongside Kathleen Kennedy, Tracey Seaward (The Queen) and John Swartz (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). Jason McGatlin, Lucasfilm’s Executive Vice President Production, will serve as co-producer.
Ewan McGregor is obviously not yet in a position to drop substantive details on the Obi-Wan TV series, but he did dish a little, in a cover story for Men’s Journal, about the arc of his hermit Jedi, specifically the character’s psychological state, which is undoubtedly still scarred from the massacres of Revenge of the Sith‘s Order 66. As McGregor states, carefully avoiding specifics:
“The storyline sits between Episode III and Episode IV.” He further explains of what’s happened since the last time we saw his Obi-Wan in the former film, “the Jedi Order was falling apart. It will be interesting to take a character we know in a way and show him—Well, his arc will be quite interesting, I think, dealing with that the fact that all the Jedi were slaughtered with the end of Episode III. It’s quite something to get over.”
At Disney’s D23 Expo, Kathy Kennedy of Lucasfilm officially announced the project alongside McGregor, and also provided some more details. The Kenobi series, which doesn’t have an official title yet, does have scripts for all installments written. The project is set to begin filming next year.
There has long been an appetite for McGregor to return as Obi-Wan, with rumors swirling for years of a movie in development, rumors that were finally confirmed in 2017 with the news of a standalone Obi-Wan movie with Stephen Daldry directing. That project, along with several others, was quietly reshuffled following the underperformance of Solo: A Star Wars Story at the box office in 2018. Disney has since played their big screen plans for Star Wars close to the vest, choosing instead to put all the public focus on the closing chapter of the Skywalker saga with The Rise of Skywalker, presumably to deflect perceptions that the franchise was getting watered down with frequent movie releases. They’ve meanwhile pivoted to live action TV, with The Mandalorian looking to launch along with the Disney+ streaming service, to be followed by an untitled series that will focus on Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
While details for the new show remain scarce, it’s easy to imagine an ongoing story that fills in the gaps between Kenobi’s self-imposed exile (and adopting the name “Ben”) in the wastelands of Tattooine. And while Solo: A Star Wars Story may be the reason we didn’t get the Obi-Wan movie, it coincidentally featured a cameo from one of his mortal enemies in the form of Darth Maul, essentially bridging the gap between the prequels and their rematch on an episode of Star Wars: Rebels. Guinness was 64 at the time of the original Star Wars release, while McGregor is currently 48 years of age, so they can run this one for as many seasons as they want.
We’ll update this as more details become available. The complete schedule of upcoming Star Wars movie and TV releases can be found here.